When I use a dictionary, it means exactly what I choose it to mean

Apparently dictionary atheism means that, if you’re an atheist, you should just shut up about abuses committed against atheists, because atheism is exclusively about “not believing in gods.” The words “decency” and “respect” don’t appear anywhere in the dictionary definition, and therefore atheism is not about atheists treating each other decently and respectfully. As an atheist, you’re allowed to say that you don’t believe in gods, and that’s it.

Unless, of course, you want to complain about the people who are speaking up about abuses against atheists. Then it’s a different story. Complaining about other atheists is perfectly acceptable, regardless of what the dictionary definition of atheism is, as long as the atheists you’re complaining about are reporting genuine problems. Somehow, magically, the dictionary definition of atheism only rules out legitimate complaints of abuse. It can do that, somehow.

And we think that believers are the ones who get their authority from magical books.

Truth-seekers and god-slayers

PZ Myers is annoyed by the fact that, when it comes core, fundamental, human values, many atheists are as bad as believers, if not outright worse. In the eyes of some, “atheism” means only “lack of god-belief,” which means atheism cannot imply anything more than that, which means that atheism implies some kind of amoral anarchy, above and beyond mere unbelief. So which is it? Does atheism imply nothing more than absence of belief, or does it imply that “they’re right and you’re wrong?” You can’t have it both ways.

In truth, atheism absolutely does have implications beyond mere absence of belief in supernatural father figures. A world without gods to take responsibility for everything is a world where we ourselves are responsible. Atheism implies that we have work to do, morally, socially, and scientifically. And maybe that’s the reason why some unbelievers would rather not acknowledge anything more than just the absence of gods. But I suspect it goes deeper than that. I think what we’re seeing today is the emergence of two broadly-defined tribes within atheism, two different types of atheists, whom I designate as truth-seekers and god-slayers.

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This is more than just harassment (trigger warning: rape)

Rarely have I read any article that so enrages me as this:

From the hater’s POV, you (the Koolaid server) do not “deserve” that attention. You are “stealing” an audience. From their angry, frustrated point of view, the idea that others listen to you is insanity. From their emotion-fueled view you don’t have readers you have cult followers. That just can’t be allowed.

You must be stopped. And if they cannot stop you, they can at least ruin your quality of life. A standard goal, in troll culture, I soon learned, is to cause “personal ruin”. They aren’t all trolls, though. Some of those who seek to stop and/or ruin you are misguided/misinformed but well-intended. They actually believe in a cause, and they believe you (or rather the Koolaid you’re serving) threatens that cause.

I am angry at the injustice being suffered by this woman and by others like her. Read it all. It’s words we need to hear. We are failing, and failing badly.

But I think the writer got one thing wrong. She believes that this behavior is motivated by some kind of jealousy over how much attention women get online, and believes that the goal is to silence women. I don’t think that’s it at all. Oh this might be true for some of the trolls, but those guys are a mere nuisance, and their behavior cannot account for the kind of abuse inflicted on Kathy Sierra and others like her. The real problem here is a much smaller group of “trolls” whose goal is to get away with the virtual, online equivalent of rape. These are not geeks defending some kind of boys-only turf. These are perverts acting out rape fantasies with real victims and real harm. Women who make significant contributions are targets, not because the trolls resent the attention they get, but because the online rapist gets a bigger kick out of attacking an influential and well-known woman than attacking a more anonymous female. The goal is not to defend anything. It’s to attack and destroy the woman. For “kicks.”

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Don’t argue, babe, it’s SCIENCE!

You know, my wife and I have been married for over 30 years now, and I’ve been trying to explain proper marital roles to her, and she never listens. But now she’ll have to, because I’ve got this.

Years of doing chores around the house, including ironing, dishwashing, vacuuming and dusting, could turn heterosexual men gay, according to the results of a study headed by Dr. Kareem Ongyz, Turkey’s most famous sexologist from the University of Istanbul’s psychology department.

See? He’s a Dr, and he does studies. Checkmate, feminists and gay rights activists!

[Update: no, it’s a spoof. Still funny tho, just slightly less ironic.]

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Much better

Now this is a refreshing change.

I’m a developer. A few years ago, I moved to a new city and met some new friends who talked about racism and sexism more than I had ever thought about before. At first I was uncomfortable and didn’t like a lot what they were saying – and I definitely didn’t like when they told me something I said was racist or sexist. Then I remembered that I’m a developer, and I’m good at figuring out unfamiliar systems. So here’s what I did.

via Epicodus — How a Developer Learned Not to Be Racist and Sexist. Nicely done.

Changing The Creepy Guy Narrative

Today’s must-read narrative, about one too many creepy guys on a subway.

So a thing happened to me yesterday on the BART as I was coming home from work. (And no, it wasn’t a Sharknado…mores the pity.) Maybe I’m just rewriting history or trying to make a story fit in this the context of this blog…maybe, but I really, honestly think that what happened did so (at least in my case) because I am a writer.

via Writing About Writing (And Occasionally Some Writing): Changing The Creepy Guy Narrative.

Opinions

I said it again the other day, but then I had second thoughts. “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” I said, but is that really true? Have you ever thought about the full range of opinions we’re implicitly endorsing by saying everyone is entitled to believe whatever they believe?

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Religious right to meddle

The Conservative Hideout is all up in arms about what they call a “war on Christians.”

Notice that there seems to be a war on Christianity under way? Well, the folks at Hobby lobby have noticed, as they went to court to escape the the ObamaCare regulations that require them to provide coverage for the abortion pill. Unfortunately, it seems that at least one federal judge seems t think that Religious Freedom really doesn’t exist.

By “Religious Freedom” (capitalized), the writer of course means Christians having the power to control women’s lives with or without their consent. The idea that women might also be entitled to religious freedom (in the sense of actual, you know, liberty) does not seem to occur.

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